Q&A with Jennifer Toole, 2016 Ringer Award Winner

Congratulations! As the winner of the Ringer Award last year, what did this award win mean to you personally?

I was really touched to see all the work that went into putting together the submission by my colleagues and flattered by the kind words included from my clients.  It is really rewarding to recognized by my peers and colleagues. Usually we are so focused on clients, it’s fun to take the time every year to celebrate ourselves!

What are the major differences in the PR industry between when you started your career and now?

When I started my career, we were still using the Bacon’s books to look up the contact information for reporters and search for publications, so I would say a lot has changed. One thing that remains the same though is that PR has always been all about building relationships. Now we build them by connecting via social media and crafting a pithy email pitch more so than picking up the phone, but in my opinion the phone remains a crucial tool for getting the job done.

What is the most important characteristic or skill set you think a PR pro needs to be successful in the industry?

I have long maintained that if you are considering a career in PR that you should study something different in college. Being good at PR means having broad knowledge and curiosity about the world. Learn to write well and work in the service industry to learn the basic hard stuff about dealing with clients/customers and the rest of the skills you can learn on the job.

What makes New England, and Boston specifically, unique in the PR industry?

Boston is a small town, so it’s really important to make sure that you are building a good reputation for yourself. I think we all see many familiar faces at industry events. Its nice that there is a community here – it’s very different than being in PR in a place like New York.

What is your favorite thing about PR?

Two things come to mind – first, I really love seeing my team succeed. It’s awesome for me to watch their skill sets grow and observe them nail a new biz pitch or really impress a client. Another aspect that I will always love is the high I get from placing a really good story. I still have the hard copy of my first New York Times clip. It’s awesome to see your hard work come to fruition in the pages of publications you read yourself.